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Chameleons In A Kaleidoscope: How It Feels To Work In Partnership As A Sure Start Manager (Click to download.)

This is Dr Helen Kara's PhD thesis, published in 2006. It offers a sharp critique of some of the destructive aspects of New Labour's modernisation agenda, and an illuminating exploration of the emotional demands of managing development work with children and families in areas of deprivation. It contains information about a new method of data construction using storytelling, and demonstrates the enormous potential of this method to produce rich data about sensitive subjects. It also outlines an innovative method of interpreting data using multiple coding frames, and gives a reflexive account of the PhD process written in a creative fictionalised style. The relationships between fact and fiction, truth and authenticity, and issues of partnership, identity, emotion and language, are explored in detail.


Commissioning Consultancy

By Helen Kara of We Research It Ltd and Paul Muir of MWB Consultancy Ltd. Published in 2003 by Russell House Publishing, this book is an essential guide for anyone who commissions consultancy or outsources research work, training or project management.

Bringing in extra skilled help from outside your organisation or partnership can be expensive, unpredictable and potentially full of pitfalls. If you commission such help, it is your responsibility to ensure that you get the best results you can by getting the right type of help. If you are a 'skilled outsider', offering consultancy, training, project management, or research, then it is your responsibility to assist the person who commissions your work. This book can help you to undertake this potentially complicated course of action together - and to succeed.

Whether commissioner or consultant, experienced or novice, by the time you have read this book you will understand:

  • what consultants can do
  • how to find and select the right consultant
  • how to manage a consultant to get the results you want
  • how to forestall or overcome any problems that arise between commissioner and consultant.

The book includes:

  • many new ideas and tips
  • guidelines on preparing briefs for commissioning the main types of work that consultants do
  • guidance about getting the best from your consultant and the project once it's under way.

This book is primarily for those who commission and manage consultants: the people who have the ultimate responsibility for any project, because they have to live and work with the outcome long after the consultant has moved on to new projects and other clients. But it is also written for consultants themselves, because the better you understand - and the more you support - each other, the more effectively you can work together to improve the quality of public services.

Click here to see a review of Commissioning Consultancy by Tim Burke, consultant editor of "Young People Now".

Click here to see a review from Care and Health.

How To Order 'Commissioning Consultancy'

If you would like to buy a single copy of Commissioning Consultancy at the retail price of 16.95, please send your order to the address at the top of this page. Alternatively you can send an email to - when ordering by email, please include an order reference number in your message. Under normal circumstances a copy of the book and an invoice will be sent to you by first-class post within five working days; at holiday times it may take a little longer. Please note that our terms of trading require that invoices are paid within 30 days.

There will be no charge for postage and packing to UK addresses; postage to non-UK addresses will be charged at cost. If you want your copy sent to an address outside the UK, postage will be charged at cost.

If you require more than one copy of the book, please contact the publishers, Russell House Publishing Ltd.


How To Commission Consultants

Article by Helen Kara in Housing Today, 3rd October 2003. Click here to download this article as a PDF document.


Right From The Start

Article by Helen Kara in The British Journal of Occupational Learning 1(1) pp 37-49.

"In this thought-provoking analysis, the author identifies - and challenges - a number of assumptions commonly relied upon by commissioners of training. She emphasizes the importance of commissioners being clear about what is involved in the process and what their desired outcomes are." (from the Editorial, page 1, by Neil Thompson)


In The Know?

Article by Helen Kara on how to get the best out of consultants in Community Care, 26th July 2001. Click here for details.